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Hindi-Paki bhai bhai

Hindi-Paki bhai bhai

Author: Manas Chakravarty
Publication: Business Standard
Date: March 30, 2004

Hordes of travellers from the drought-hit districts of Orissa are camping outside the office of the Pakistan high commissioner here in a bid to get visas to go to Pakistan.  "I've come all the way from Kalahandi, where it hasn't rained for donkey's years and there's nothing to eat" said the gnarled old leader of one of the groups. On being asked what that had to do with watching cricket matches in Pakistan, the village elder confessed to complete ignorance of the game.  "We had heard these wonderful stories of how the Pakistanis provide free food to Indians and invite us to stay in their homes," he explained, "so naturally we want to go to this paradise."

"I'm sick of eating mango kernel", piped up a youngster. "I hope it's true that Pakistan is the land of free kebabs for Indians?" he asked anxiously.

March 26, Lahore
Restaurant owners at the famous Anarkali food market are complaining about groups of Pakistanis, dressed in dhotis and Gandhi topis, who come to the market pretending to be Indians.  "They talk loudly about life back home in Aligarh or Hyderabad, attracting the attention of the other patrons", said a hotel owner.  "After polishing off several plates of kebabs, they strike up a conversation with the regular patrons, who naturally offer to pay the bill."  The hotelier also pointed out that he was completely in the dark about the fraud until a group of real Indians dining at the restaurant pointed out that nobody, except politicians, wore Gandhi topis and dhotis in India these days.  One of the waiters said that they had alerted the police. "But they came and arrested a group of Sardars by mistake, under the impression they were Afghans looking for a free meal," said the hotel owner.

March 26, Peshawar
"Commerce," says Mota Rajan, "is the road to peace." Mr Rajan has come down from Mumbai to Peshawar to explore the possibilities of developing business ties between the two cities. Standing before one of Peshawar's famous gun shops, Mr Rajan enthused about the quality of merchandise produced there.

"Back home in Mumbai," he said, "we have to depend on substandard UP and Bihar guns. These are much better". "Just think", he added, his eyes gleaming at the prospect, "what we can do to our rival gangs once we have these Kalashnikovs and rocket launchers."  Mr Rajan was highly appreciative of the traditional hospitality of the Pathans. "Look what they gave me as a gift," he said emotionally, taking a packet of heroin out of his pyjama pocket.  He said that the attitude of the Pakistani police was immeasurably superior to that of their Mumbai counterparts. "Why, these cops smile every time they see an Indian," said Mr Rajan, "Our local police could learn a lot from them," he added.

March 28, Multan
Pakistani police are aghast at having missed a fantastic opportunity to nab dreaded al-Qaeda leaders Osama Bin Laden and Dr Al-Zawahiri. "We had them cornered in the Wana tribal area," said a Pakistani intelligence agent, "but these guys hit upon a brilliant idea. They took off their traditional Afghan outfits, donned the Indian team colours instead, shaved their beards, and coolly walked out of the trap. With so many Indian cricket fans running around loose in the country, nobody noticed them."  A Pakistani police official revealed that they had then been offered free transport by hospitable Pakistanis to Multan, under the impression that they wanted to watch the cricket match. "In Multan," continued the intelligence agent, "they were given free tickets for the game, and they had to watch the first day's play before they could slip away."  According to the Pakistani gentleman sitting next to them at the match, "One of them had 'Proud to be Indian' written on his shirt, while another carried the Indian flag. I noticed something was wrong when they winced every time I mentioned world peace and the need to be good neighbours," said the Pakistani gentleman. "But I thought that was because they were probably from the Bajrang Dal," he added.

March 29, Karachi
One Indian in Karachi is not impressed with all the stories of Pakistani hospitality and of how they are taking extraordinary care of their Indian guests. "What's new about it?" asked the gentleman, "They've been taking good care of me all these years.  Why do you think I gave up Mumbai and Dubai to come and stay in Karachi?" "I've had a really wonderful time here," he continued, "The Pakis not only offered me a wonderful house but also paid for my security guards," he said. However, Mr Dawood Ibrahim - that was the gentleman's name - said he did miss Mumbai a lot, because "it offered more opportunities in my line of business."

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